Sumner A Cunningham

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Sumner A. Cunningham, founder of the "Confederate Veteran"

Sumner A. Cunningham – The founder of the “Confederate Veteran” magazine. Our Shelbyville, TN. Camp #1620 was named in his honor.

Sumner Archibald Cunningham was born in Bedford County, Tennessee on July 21, 1843. When the war erupted he enlisted in the 41st Tennessee Infantry Regiment. As Fort Donelson fell in 1862, Cunningham was captured and later sent to Camp Morton as a prisoner-of-war. He was exchanged at Vicksburg and returned to his command where he served until the end of the war. After the war he engaged in several businesses including the ownership of the Chattanooga Times, which he edited for two years. In 1883 he edited a magazine in New York entitled Our Day; however, his fame was secured in January, 1893 when the first issue of the Confederate Veteran appeared. In the next forty years, the Veteran became the voice of the South and officially represented the United Confederate Veterans, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. This article & picture were reprinted from the 1984 Confederate Veteran, written by Ronald T. Clemons, Editor-In-Chief.


117th National Reunion and Pvt. Dee Jobe

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A few weeks ago the SCV celebrated its 117th National Reunion in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. There were many meetings, presentations, music, and stimulating activities. Unfortunately I was not able to attend or participate in everything available, but I did get to hear some programs, listen to some period music, and enjoy two tours. Camp #33 in Murfreesboro and all those assisting are to be commended for a job well done!

Close by, within a few hours drive, there are so many historical sites in Middle Tenn. to visit. One great excursion was the Sam Davis tour. The many fifty-five passenger busses took us to our destination just up the road from Murfreesboro to Smyrna, Tennessee. Just a few miles from the massive Nissan factory and the old Stewart Air Force Base is the home and museum of the Sam Davis family in Smyrna. This is a must see destination for WBTS (Civil War) buffs. The story of Sam Davis is sad and legendary, but there is another story, a horrendous one, of another native Tennessean whose gave his life for the Confederacy.

The brutality of the treatment to Dewitt Smith Jobe was unconscionable. Pvt. Dee Jobe was a member of the Coleman Scouts. This unit was to patrol and find information about the Union Army and deliver it to the Confederate Army in their homeland of occupied Tennessee. It was August of 1864, as Jobe and fellow scout Tom Joplin were behind the occupying Union lines and reconnoitering south of Nashville near the small villages of Nolensville and Triune. On Aug. 29, Jobe was hiding in a cornfield after eating breakfast at the home of William Moss, the father of two Confederate soldiers who lived between Triune and Nolensville. He had an important message hidden on his person. With Union patrols in the area, the Confederate was required to hide during the day and travel at night. On this day he took a chance to move about during daylight. Unfortunately, he was spotted by a patrol of approximately 15 men from the 115th Ohio Cavalry Regiment of the Union Army. Pvt. Jobe realized his capture was imminent, and he ripped up the notes and attempted to chew and swallow them. The 115th Ohio Cavalry intercepted Pvt. Jobe, confiscated a portion of his tattered notes, but they could not discern the meaning of the remaining pieces of the dispatches. The Union horsemen were infuriated by the nearness of their miss and now was time for some interrogating. Did they threatened him bodily harm?  Then did he talk?  Evidently he did not talk because around his throat they put a bridle rein and proceeded to hang him up a number of times, then let him down. Later they knocked out some of his teeth with a butt of a weapon. Still hung up, bound, bleeding, with no help of escape nor relief, Pvt. Jobe revealed nothing. As the torture escalated against this defenseless trooper, the Yankee cavalry were hollering and yelling so loudly they were heard by a nearby farm-house.  Next they secured his head, and one by one, poked out each of Pvt Jobe’s eyes! Screaming and yowling in excruciating pain he would not tell his secrets! If he would not tell them, these Invaders from Ohio were willing to raise the level of torture even higher! During repetitious beatings, they jabbed a knife into his mouth and cut out part of his tongue! Now was this the end of their sadistic pleasure? Read on…This shameless lot of tormentors finally were compelled to finish their acts of medieval inspired terror to punish Pvt. Jobe as they dragged him by his neck, behind a horse as it galloped away with his now, lifeless body!  Finally Private Dewitt Smith Jobe’s agony was over. A woman friend rode by, dismounted, and placed a handkerchief over Pvt. Jobe’s bloodied and scarred face.

No charges were ever placed against any members of the 115th Ohio Cavalry Regiment. Eventually some of the 115th were captured and reportedly sent to Andersonville Prison. Some of these same prisoners were possibly of the 1,500 who died on the SS Sultanaa Mississippi River steamboat that exploded and sank near Memphis on April 27, 1865. Some believe Robert Louden, a Confederate from Missouri, used a coal torpedo to help sabotage the Sultana, resulting in her demise.

The event surrounding the capture and torture of Private Jobe is not mentioned in the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, unfortunately. If you were in the 115th Ohio Cavalry Regiment, would you document these vile acts? However horrific, what happened to Pvt. Jobe was preserved in Jobe family oral history and letters and books like Bromfield Ridley’s “Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee.” Part of this narrative was compiled from Ed Huddleston’s “The Civil War in Middle Tennessee” and from a series of supplements from the “Nashville Banner” published in 1965.

Rest In Peace, Private Dewitt Smith Jobe!

This marker is located on U.S. Highway 31A in Williamson County between Triune and Nolensville, Tennessee.

Pvt Dewitt 'Dee' Jobe, CSA

Pvt Dewitt Jobe, CSA

In the words of General Patrick Cleburne…

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“Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision… It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all that our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.” – General Patrick Ronayne Cleburne C.S.A., 2 Jan 1864.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”-Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás

As I contemplate the thoughts of General Cleburne, I find myself thinking also of George Santayana’s words. I wonder if the last three and one-half years our country has been suffering a modern ‘Socialist Reconstruction’, quite similar to the one the South suffered approximately 145 years ago.

24th Mississippi Infantry Regiment


A Mississippi Flag

Mississippi Magnolia Flag 1861-1894

What a daunting task to gather accurate information concerning a Confederate regiment that existed only a short time over 150 years ago. In previous years before the internet, coupled with limited resources, some simple, realistic minded individuals might refuse to consider such a work. With the help of the internet but hendered with a background and education not related to historical research I began my elementary resume of historical and genealogical systematic investigation. In the last ten years, after many trips to eastern Mississippi for genealogical purposes, with emphasis on Monroe, Itawamba, and Chickasaw Counties, I often pondered the idea of researching at least one of my ancestor’s units. The 27th and 43rd Mississippi Infantries, among other units, were represented well on the tombstones of some of my ancestors.  I began a search for diaries, books, stories, etc. about these units and there was little, in my humble opinion. Then there was the 24th MS. My GG Grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Doster and his brother, James Lafayette Doster, were in Dowd’s Rebels (Co. C), 24th Miss. Infantry, from Chickasaw County, Mississippi. They were captured 24 Nov 1863 at Lookout Mtn. (the battle above the clouds) and sent to the Rock Island, Illinois POW camp. I looked up the Doster brothers on and viewed their service records. Previously I had family data on, and some notes from family members I had collected in previous years. I did many searches on Google and other research internet sites. The 24th MS. Infantry, compared to the 27th and 43rd, had few personal accounts published to tell us their story.  Wondering what would be the next step, I waited and waited, with fainting hopes that someone else would provide a little of the information desired. Once in a while a blog or site would reveal itself and wala, a minute few mentioned the 24th Miss. Infantry. In the meantime my wife and I had taken a few pictures of headstones and located some others on line. The decision came to mind to start a pictoral of the 24th while floundering in the midst of my modest research. If you look to the right of this story you will notice FLICKR and two pictures. **Update**FLICKR for some unknown reason has removed the link on this site to my FLICKR account and I have been unable to reinsert it back. If you go to the FLICKR website and look up me (Swamprat) my pics of the 24th are still on line. I am sorry for this, but hopefully I will get them linked back to this site.**  I have some of the old 24th MS Veterans there. Feel free to enjoy and help us find more information, pictures, stories, or whatever you would like to share.  The Museum of the Confederacy has a 24th MS. flag captured at Lookout Mountain by the 60th U.S. New York Inf. Reg. I contacted the museum in Richmond, Virginia, in regards to obtaining an image of the 24th MS flag. At a price, with only permission to display it (in a frame) and not reproduce the image, I was allowed to obtain a photographed copy. I will attempt to describe it as a Hardee type flag with Perryville and Murfreesborough (old spelling) on it. The oval is more rounded and much larger in the 24th MS. Inf. flag with the blue background shaped as a square and slightly offset to the side. Also the 60th New York Inf. Reg. used bold red letters and made their identifying mark on it. The flag below is similar to the 24th Miss. flag.

Confederate Hardee Flag

Hardee Flag

The Twenty-Fourth Mississippi Infantry regiment was made up largely of very young men, and the companies were organized under a proclamation of Governor Pettus calling for enlistments for three years. The companies assembled at Marion Station (Marion, Lauderdale County, Mississippi) and were mustered into the Confederate States service in September and October, 1861. The field officers were elected November 6, 1861: Colonel William F. Dowd, of Monroe County, Lieutenant Colonel Robert P. McKelvaine, of Kemper County, and William C. Staples of Choctaw County. Col. Dowd was disabled and resigned in January, 1864, and Col. R. P. McKelvaine became regimental commander. At the time of the surrender of the unit on April 26, 1865, approximately 25 men were left from an original regimental strength of well over 1,000. The 24th fought at:
Tullahoma Campaign
Atlanta Campaign
New Hope Church
Ezra Church
Atlanta Siege
Carolinas Campaign

The Mississippi State SCV has provided this website: –and it is very useful. Thanks to the MS SCV!

The Caledonia Rifles SCV Miss. Camp–SCV Camp #2140 represents the 24th Miss. The Caledonia Rifles, Lowndes County, MS., later became Co. D.

One of my first resources was Kemper County Rebel – the Civil War Diary of Robert Masten Holmes, C.S.A, edited by Frank Allen Dennis. Private Holmes was in the 24th MS., Co. I, Kemper County, MS.  Private Holmes did not survive the war.

Military History Online has information about individual soldiers submitted by descendants and others.

The Blogroll on this page (top right) has numerous resources available for research and has been helpful.

This is hopefully the first installment of many concerning the 24th Mississippi Infantry Regiment.


Did any US President ever suspend the right of habeas corpus?

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“Early in the war, by executive order and congressional act, the  government of the United States suspended the right of habeas corpus, and authorized military arrest and trial of citizens, even outside  the field of military operations. Under these acts and orders, there  came about a situation well described by the Secretary of State, in a  war-time conversation with Lord Lyons, the British ambassador. Said Mr. Seward, “My Lord, I can touch a bell on my right hand, and  order the arrest of a citizen of Ohio. I can touch a bell again, and  order the imprisonment of a citizen of New York; and no power on  earth, except that of the President, can release them. Can the Queen of England do as much”?                                                                                                                            
Taken From: “The Story of RECONSTRUCTION” by Robert Selph Henry 1st Edition printed in 1938 page 213
The Answer: YES! 

In memory of Pvt. George Dance


George Dance was in a picture that was made before 1914 at the Lynchburg, Moore County, Tennessee, courthouse.  In it a number of elderly men were posing for a reunion for the area Confederate Veterans.  Other pictures from around 1900 taken from Gen’l N.B. Forrest’s Escort reunion, again reveal George Dance with his fellow Vets.  For some people these pictures are a problem.  For SCV members it is not!  A check with a genealogical online service indicates George Dance was a Confederate Veteran.  He was obviously at a reunion with his veteran comrades.  He had applied for a Confederate pension number C46 in Moore County, Tennessee, having served in the 8th TN Infantry, CSA. Oh yes, why is this a problem to some?  George Dance is black. Was George a free black when the uncivil war broke out?  Currently no information is available and more importantly, does it matter?

George Dance was born Jan 1, 1842 and died Nov. 12, 1924. This information was obtained from the photograph that also contained the dates of birth and death of the other men.  Presently, very little is known about George Dance. The state of Tennessee census records of 1891, page 27, indicates he in District 1 as a registered male voter. He, his wife America, and their three children are in the 1880 U.S. census of Moore County. He is listed as a farmer and she as keeping house. All are listed as being born in Tennessee. Next he was found in the 1910 U.S. census of Moore County as widowed, employed in a grist mill, and a survivor of the war. The census does indicate he said he was born in Alabama.  He is next found in the 1920 U.S. census of Moore County as widowed, not employed, and living with a son and family.  A granddaughter is named America. Again it states he was born in Alabama.  There is a state of Tennessee record of marriage in Moore County,  between George Dance and Maggie Travis, of 11 Dec. 1873.  Could she possibly be Maggie America Travis?

George Dance back row center

Picture with George Dance taken next to Moore County Courthouse, Tennessee, before 1914

Forrest Escort Renunion Lynchburg TN abt 1900

Forrest Escort Renunion Lynchburg TN abt 1900

Another view Forrest Escort Reunion abt 1900

Another View Forrest Escort Reunion abt 1900

Arguments concerning the role that blacks played in the Confederate army continue to this day.  Pundits still contend the degree of contributions make by blacks, in addition to disputing the actual numbers of those freed men or slaves who served gallantly with their white southern allies. With the surviving documents, veteran’s personal accounts and affidavits, official records, and periodicals, it is remarkable that many want to ‘cover up’ or just deny that southern blacks would serve in, and later be proud of participating in the Confederate army.

In memory of Lt. James O. Norton

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Lt. James O. Norton Co. F/K  32nd TN Infantry, C.S.A. 

James Ogburn Norton, Sr. was born Nov 23, 1825 in North Carolina to Dr. William S. and Marcia Anne (Beall) Norton. While still a small boy, his parents migrated to Middle Tennessee settling in Bedford County, south of Beechgrove, and were neighbors of the Obadiah Templeton family according to the 1830 Bedford Co. census.  James married Elizabeth Priscilla Davidson, of Bedford Co., in Jan. 1854. In the 1860 census, James was recorded as being a physician, just as his father. Physicians during the 1840’s & 50’s often were trained for a period of time, usually one year, under an established practicing doctor. A final year was often spent at a medical school before receiving a medical diploma or license. It has been suggested that James studied under his father, but It is not known where Dr. Norton received any of his training.  He and his wife had 4 children; sons, William Alexander, born in Jan, 1855, and Leander Newton, born in Dec, 1856, a daughter Sarah Elizabeth, born in June, 1859, and their father’s namesake, James Ogburn Norton, Jr, born in Jan, 1861. Tragically, their father had only a little over a year to live after this last child’s birth.

Not long after war began, Dr James Norton was mustered into the Confederate States of America service in November 1861, at Camp Trousdale, Sumner Co., enlisting for twelve months.  As the war began, 1st Lt. Dr. Norton was serving in Co K, 32nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment.  Some military records indicate he served in Co. F, also. His service was doomed to be of short tenure, however.  The 32nd Tennessee Regiment was among the 12,000 Confederates captured after the Union’s first major victory of the war, the Battle of Fort Donelson. (Feb 11- 16, 1862)  The loss of Fort Donelson opened the way for the Union’s invasion of Middle Tennessee and the capture of Nashville.  Thus, James Norton arrived as a prisoner of war at Camp Chase, in Columbus, Ohio on March 1, 1862.  He must have been sick when he first arrived since he died of pneumonia in the Confederate hospital only three days later on March 4.

The tragic story of Dr. Norton does not end with his death, as was discovered by researcher Dennis Brooke, member of the Gen. Roswell Ripley Camp Chase (Columbus, OH), Sons of the Confederate Veterans, Camp 1565.  A single wooden head board, which read only “Dr. James O. Norton” was placed over his grave in East Cemetery.  Not being designated as a Confederate soldier, was something that turned out to be a blessing AND a curse.  The East Cemetery was located next to Starling Medical College.  In a twist that would make Edgar Allen Poe proud, a local physician, named Dr. Joab Flowers, was stealing the bodies of dead Confederate soldiers from East Cemetery (then later from the Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery) and was selling them at a handsome price to the medical college!   Dr. Flowers was later arrested for body snatching in Nov, 1864.  Had Dr. James Norton’s body been correctly identified as “1st Lt.” Dr. James Norton, then he might have also become one of the infamous body snatching victims of Dr. Flowers.

In May, 1869, all Confederate dead were moved for re-interment in the Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery, but Dr. Norton was not recorded as receiving this military burial and was apparently left behind.  When the remainder of the East Cemetery was moved in 1881 the first area moved was the section of the graveyard where James Norton had been buried.  Since the old wooden markers had long since deteriorated away it is believed that Dr. Norton was possibly buried in the mass grave along with other unidentified Confederates, all of whom were quickly forgotten without grave markers or headstones.

Recently, the General Roswell Ripley SCV Camp of Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, made a “In Memory of” marker, to recognize the life and service of  Lt. James O. Norton, C.S.A. It was decided by their SCV camp to make this marker available to a family member of Lt. Norton’s ancestral home. Dr. Norton’s memorial marker was brought from Columbus, Ohio to Bedford Co. by Greg Keeling, a distant double cousin of Lt. Norton. This stone was placed in the Confederate Cemetery at Willow Mount by Mr. Keeling and members of the local S. A. Cunningham SCV Camp 1620.

Click here to visit cemetery of Eliza Davidson Norton, wife of Dr. James O. Norton at find a grave.

Click on here to visit the General Roswell Ripley (Camp Chase, Ohio) SCV site.

Memorial Stone from Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio

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